Volatile, isotope, and organic analysis of martian fines with the Mars curiosity rover

MSL Science Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

342 Scopus citations

Abstract

Samples from the Rocknest aeolian deposit were heated to ∼835°C under helium flow and evolved gases analyzed by Curiosity 's Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite. H2O, SO2, CO2, and O2 were the major gases released. Water abundance (1.5 to 3 weight percent) and release temperature suggest that H2O is bound within an amorphous component of the sample. Decomposition of fine-grained Fe or Mg carbonate is the likely source of much of the evolved CO2. Evolved O2 is coincident with the release of Cl, suggesting that oxygen is produced from thermal decomposition of an oxychloride compound. Elevated δD values are consistent with recent atmospheric exchange. Carbon isotopes indicate multiple carbon sources in the fines. Several simple organic compounds were detected, but they are not definitively martian in origin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1238937
JournalScience
Volume341
Issue number6153
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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